EVEN the most cloth-eared Brexiter must surely be hearing the increasingly frantic mood music from an alarmed business community over the utter shambles triggered by the UK electorate’s monumentally ill-judged vote to leave the European Union.

In terms of the composition of the mood music, think screeching violins. Like the build-up to heart-stopping moments in horror films.

Sadly, the Brexit horror story is being played out in real life. And the fears of the business community are shared by the millions of households around the UK which are already paying a pretty price for the UK’s Brexit folly even before they bear the full brunt of the Leave stupidity.

These fears are based on real things. In this regard, they are the opposite of the hopes of a better world outside the EU peddled by the Brexiters. These hopes are based on absolute fantasy.

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It has been clear to many since the Brexit campaign began that these hopes are based on no more than fantasy. This fact should now be apparent to the UK electorate at large given the Brexiters have been unable to turn their tiresome blather into any actual positives in the nearly two-and-a-half years since the Leave vote. Sadly, it seems it is still not apparent to many, either as a result of entrenched personal ideologies or because the nonsense of some smooth-talking Brexiters is still being given credence by many voters.

Amid the ongoing political shambles, the House of Commons vote which was meant to take place on Tuesday on the Brexit deal negotiated between the UK and EU was delayed by Prime Minister Theresa May. All the indications were that she would have suffered a humiliating defeat. That said, the last-minute postponement was embarrassing enough.

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Then, on Wednesday, Mrs May unsurprisingly survived an attempt by Brexit zealots, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, to oust her. But she was left in no doubt about the degree of discontent with her leadership and about the depth of the splits within her party, as more than one-third of Tory MPs declared they did not have confidence in her.

Amid the ongoing fiasco, the Institute of Directors summed up the exasperation of businesses and households well.

IoD director-general Stephen Martin said: “Many business leaders, along with the rest of the country, will be tearing their hair out at the state of Westminster politics at the moment. We are edging closer and closer to no-deal as a result of constant can-kicking and internal domestic political strife.”

Businesses, understandably, are taking fright.

A survey published this week by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) showed that confidence among its members in Scotland sank in the latest quarter to its lowest since comparable records began in 2010.

The FSB was in no doubt about what was causing the problem.

Andrew McRae, the FSB’s Scotland policy chairman, said: “These gloomy figures show the uncertainty and confusion associated with Brexit is having a huge impact on business optimism. It looks likely confidence will only return when there’s a clear path beyond the March 29 [Brexit] deadline that safeguards smaller businesses’ interests.”

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Noting the confidence reading for small businesses in Scotland was lower than that for the UK as a whole, Mr McRae observed this suggested “firms north of the Border are particularly distressed about the current state of affairs”.

The FSB, not surprisingly, found confidence among small businesses in other parts of the UK had also tumbled in the latest quarter.

Another survey published this week, by Clydesdale Bank owner CYBG, showed a drop in confidence among small and medium-sized firms in Scotland, and throughout the UK, in the third quarter, with Brexit cited as a key factor.

There are certainly no signs of any speedy resolution to the UK’s mounting political crisis. And the business community appears to be realistic on this front.

Mr Martin said: “Politics is politics, and we will have to let this run its course.” He emphasised that “ensuring economic stability and certainty in the months ahead should be priority number one for all politicians”.

Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman, said on Wednesday night in the wake of the result of the Tory vote on Mrs May: “Today has been a day of political infighting at a time of enormous constitutional and business uncertainty. Now that the Prime Minister remains in position, it is incumbent on Number 10 to find a way forward from the Brexit impasse and ensure there is not a disorderly no-deal Brexit in just over 100 days.”

Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “The eyes of the world are on the UK to make serious progress on what our future relationship with the European Union will look like. Continued delays and political machinations will only cause economic strain. Inaction from Westminster politicians will not be judged favourably – now or in the future – as the livelihoods of millions are at stake.”

One happier thought amid the current fiasco is that, while business is rightly unnerved, even this degree of domestic political turmoil will be a price worth paying if the ongoing shambles, one way or another, results in the abandonment of Brexit.

There is no doubt the economy has already been damaged very significantly by the move towards Brexit, and the massive and protracted uncertainty continues to have a corrosive effect.

However, the consequences of actually leaving the EU will be much more grave. If there is a hard Brexit, things could become calamitous very quickly, with the potential for a recession even deeper than the 2008/09 downturn which was triggered by the global financial crisis. Even if there is an exit deal, the cumulative economic damage over coming years and decades will be painful indeed, given that the Conservative Government has ruled out staying in the single market and is against continued free movement of people from other EU countries to the UK.

The detrimental impact of either of these Brexit scenarios would be far greater than a short-term UK political crisis which leads to the UK staying in the EU. This is something which businesses and households alike should bear in mind, when seeking hope amid the gloom.